DURING THE 1972 OLYMPIC GAMES IN MUNICH, 11 ISRAELI ATHLETES ARE TAKEN HOSTAGE & MURDERED BY A PALESTINIAN TERRORIST GROUP KNOWN AS BLACK SEPTEMBER. IN RETALIATION, THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT RECRUITS A GROUP OF MOSSAD AGENTS ... more »TO TRACK DOWN & EXECUTE THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTACK.« less
David M. (KingofGarageSales) from FAYETTEVILLE, AR Reviewed on 11/8/2017...
I don't know that "Loved It!" is the phrase I'd choose, as Munich reveals "the intense story of the secret Israeli squad assigned to track down and assassinate the 11 Palestinians believed to have planned the 1972 Munich massacre of 11 Israeli athletes--and the personal toll this mission of revenge takes on the team and the man who led it".
But Steven Spielberg has yet to make a bad movie; only a full bladder made me pause it briefly; and I can easily see why Munich was nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Thomas D. (RockerBoomer) from SOUTHAMPTON, NY Reviewed on 7/6/2010...
1 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
'Home is all that matters'
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Attempting to understand what drives people to kill other people for any reason is, in the pit of the soul, a challenging enigma. Whether that 'reason' is war between countries at odds, protecting one's self when endangered, revenge or vengeance for deeds perpetrated by 'the other', for panic in the moment of survival - each of these feels wrong despite the fundamental belief to the contrary at the moment of killing. MUNICH is about killing, about vengeance, about protection of 'home', about existence in a world so bifurcated by age-old schisms, and about us. And while absorbing all of the 2 1/2 hour plus visual and philosophical information put forth in this epic film, the viewer is so paralyzed by the story that blinking for a second seems irreverent.
The tragedy of the 1972 Olympics - the brutal kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes by masked Arab/Palestinian marauders - is brought to the screen with brave and gutsy realism by a brilliant script by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth based on George Jonas' book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team, directed with straightforward, no-nonsense sensitivity to all participants by Steven Spielberg, and brought to life by a cast that simply could not be finer. From the opening of the film sans credits with the Black September act of breaking into the Olympic games in Munich, the film moves swiftly through the formation of an anti-terrorist league of Israeli assassins whose job it is to hunt down the killers and murder them, to the final painfully unsettled end. This is all under the instruction and guidance of Golda Meir (brilliantly played by Lynn Cohen) and her advisors.
The team of Avner (Eric Bana), Steve (Daniel Craig), Carl (Ciaran Hinds), Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz), Hans (Hanns Zischler), and Mossad Accountant (Oded Teomi) are instructed by Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush) and stripped of their identities to enter this mission. They roam the world based on information purchased from a secret group led by Louis (Mathieu Amalric) and Papa (Michael Lonsdale). Gradually growing into the roles of assassins the group begins to murder each of the perpetrators until their success is noticed by all manner of secret agencies (including the American CIA) and the tables are turned: the lives of the Israeli assassins are as endangered as those of the Arab murderers. In a particularly touching moment in the dark, Avner and a Palestinian soldier debate the need for the state of Israel and the opposite need for holding onto home by the Palestinian: it is a moment of writing that sums up the entire Israeli conflict.
The cinematography by Janusz Kaminski and the music score by the always fine John Williams add dimensions of atmosphere to this dark film, but it is Spielberg doing what he does best in directing attention to moments in history that will never be buried that makes this phenomenal movie an emotional experience for everyone, no matter their political or religious beliefs. It is simply a brilliant film about the need for Home - that sacred place whether internal or external that maintains the reason to live and even to die for it. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, May 06
A place called home, an action called vengeance, a movie cal
Eddie Lancekick | Pacific Northwest | 05/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Eric Bana, is the story that many of us haven't heard. In the foreground is one of the biggest acts of terrorism pre-9/11. Also happening in September, during the 1972 Olympic games that Munich was hosting, The Munich games were cut short by a terrible tragedy. Palestinian terrorists from the terrorist group known as "Black September" captured 11 Israeli team members hostage and held them in their apartment for over 16 hours. Eventually, the terrorist group murdered all the hostages.
After watching Munich, I have to say it far preceded my expectations. Directed by Spielberg and written by Eric Roth and Tony Kushner, Munich follows a collection of Israeli men who are given direction to track down and kill those responsible for the massacre at the Olympic games. Led by Avner (Eric Bana), the film follows the men to a few locales in which they, along with money funneled to them by a government contact, embark on the task of taking out the targets one by one. Though deemed "historical fiction", the film does follow actual events somewhat. 9 of the 11 people who were responsible for the Munich Massacre are eventually killed. George Jonas, whose story is supposed to be close in detail as the author claims to be an agent of Mossad at one time, bases the film on the book "Vengeance".
Enough of the background, lets get to the movie. Munich clocks in at over 2 hours but never leaves you yawning. The direction starts with Bana's character being summoned to take on the role of "assassin" immediately following the Munich massacre. With a pregnant wife at home, Avner (played by Bana) is hesitant but ultimately accepts the role, and soon finds himself in safe houses with a collection of other people who bring varying skills to the table. Don't let that last sentence fool you, some of these guys know more about accounting than having "Navy Seal" or what have you on their resume'. The one thing they all bring is passion for country, duty to god, and a willingness to risk their life for revenge against the terrorists. They are made to basically sign contracts that say there is no contract. That they are rogue, that they have no contacts, no bosses, no specific agency for which they can be tied to. They soon make contact with an informer who gives them the names and locations of the people on the hit list. Moving from one target to the next, they start to run into difficulty. Bombs don't work. People seem to know they are coming as well. In this deadly game of Cat hunting mouse, they soon realize that loyalty can still be compromised and that their sacrifices may in fact break them down to the last man.
Action, Suspense, and Technical grade: The movie does a superb job mixing up the methods they use to carry out the job. Bombs in telephones, under mattresses, and even good old fashioned small arms fire in apartment hallways come in and out to give the movie a great pace as well as give us a break from the sometimes over the top CG saturated warfare that we normally see on the screen. It comes across as realistic, and because of that it makes it all the more breathtaking and exciting, keeping you on the edge of your seat.
Themes and Messages: The movie hits home pretty well with the themes of revenge and loyalty. A conversation between a Muslim and man thought to just be a German (played by Bana's character) creates some interesting questions. One talks of how the other should go home, but the other says, "We don't have a home, we want a nation". I'm not an expert on the battles, arguments, and forthcomings that are involved between Arab countries and Israel, but this movie did bring up some points that make it understandable to the laymen who are outside of that circle. I can't say I see both sides but its easy enough to recognize loyalty, revenge, and the want of a place to call your own.
Final thoughts: The film is superbly done in my opinion. There is always something going on, even when there is not a bomb going off or a firearm discharging. It doesn't drag in places like some films of this genre. What I really liked was the fact that the film didn't get out of hand with sub-plots and cloak and dagger clich?'s. It paces well and keeps on a linear path to allow the viewer to soak in what is happening without getting impatient waiting for the next suspenseful scene. Throughout the movie it shows Avner having dreams which are brought to us as sections of the Munich Massacre unfolding, form the breaking in at the apartment to the showdown at the airport. These are played throughout the movie and are good to allow us to remember the reason these men are doing what they are doing without us getting to wrapped up in cars with dark windows and the pushing of red buttons.
Its been over thirty years since this happened.
Much has changed in the world.
Nothing has changed in the world.
There is still unrest between Palestine and Israel. Somewhere a terrorist is planning to enact a mission. Somewhere else someone is planning to stop him, even if it means killing him. Somewhere a bomb is being made, cash is being transferred, and a bullet is leaving the muzzle of a gun. Munich captures these things within it, and although it's somewhat fictional and takes place before some of us were born, it still connects with us today as much as the Munich Massacre did to the generations before us on that fateful September day in Munich."
ORDINARY PEOPLE IN A GRINDER OF HISTORY
Anton Ilinski | Moscow, Russia | 04/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What could you expect from a two and a half-hour picture based on actual events and telling about Israeli government avenging their olympic team members killed by palestinian terrorists during Munich Olympic Games of 1972? Well, not a breathtaking, action-packed thriller, that's for sure. I thought it would be long, boring, didactic and over the top pompous. Even the presence of Steven Spielberg's name in the credits couldn't inspire me. Now I'm glad I was wrong on all counts. Yes, it was long, but of that kind when you wish a film had never ended. It's neither boring nor didactic nor pretentious.
Young Mossad agent Avner (Eric Bana) is given a task to eliminate the members of "Black September" terrorist organization with the help of a group of fellow agents. And that's what they do during two hours and a half of the screen time - locating and killing Palestinian terrorists one by one. "Munich" could become one of the many political thrillers about confrontation of different countries' intelligence services. It could raise some serious questions of historical importance and be overly-political. But Spielberg did an amazing thing with this global story - he transferred it to the personal level. So this story turned out to be not about countries, governments and intelligence services but about ordinary men. A country's vengeance was laid upon one man's shoulders, and that's how we see it - through his eyes. Along with him we will question the righteousness of his task, we will doubt, we'll see how a revenge appears to be ineffective and reasonless (as it always happens) especially if it's a revenge in a global scale: terrorism is like hydra - you cut one head off and two more emerge in it's place. We see how Avner who dedicated his work and his life to the country he loved ends up feeling useless and knowing that from now on his life is in danger. Furthermore he understands that for the sake of some illusive goal he put at risk the lives of his loved ones - his wife and child. "Munich" is the story of another zealous man who was grinded by the millstones of big politics and governmental interests. And finally this story leads to an eternal conclusion that you can't beat violence with more violence. You can deteriorate everything, unleash something you couldn't imagine in your worst nightmares, but you can't defeat violence doing the killings yourself. Steven Spielberg demonstrated his immense talent again taking this epic and well-known story, drawing some ordinary people out of it and still making grand and philosophical conclusions. Great film - awesome acting performances, brilliant cinematography (as always by Janusz Kaminski), interesting subject, entertaining yet thoughtful story-line, clear message which is at the same time not obsessive or annoying - prime Spielberg I'd say. Definately one of the best pictires of the last year undeservingly unmarked by the Academy award. "
Strips the Characters of Credibility to Get Its Point Across
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 06/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Munich" is a fictionalized account of a secret Israeli mission to assassinate key leaders of the Palestinian Black September faction that was responsible for the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany. The film is based on the 1984 book "Vengeance" by George Jonas in which a former Israeli Mossad agent claiming to have been the leader of a squad that killed 7 Black September targets told his story. Mossad has never confirmed the story, and Jonas admits that it is impossible to know how much his source may have exaggerated, but director Steven Spielberg tracked the ex-Mossad agent down and was apparently satisfied that the gist of the story is true. The dialogue and characterizations are fictionalized for the movie, however, which makes me wonder why Spielberg cared so much about veracity. "Munich" claims only to have been "inspired by real events", and that should be taken literally. Though these assassinations did take place, "Munich" alters motives and personalities so thoroughly to suit its themes that the film is essentially fiction.
After the world watches in horror as 11 Israeli hostages die at the hands of a group of Palestinians who had tried to use them to win the freedom of 200 imprisoned compatriots, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen) decides that Israel should show its strength and avenge the deaths of its citizens. A Mossad security officer named Avner (Eric Bana) is assigned a team of 4 men, provided with a clandestine method of receiving funds, and given a list of 11 Palestinians living in Europe who are targets for assassination. The team is set adrift to carry out its mission, officially unacknowledged by Mossad. They move from nation to nation tracking down the targets, killing them, preferably with bombs, frequently turning to a mysterious information dealer (Mathieu Amalric) to locate the men on their list. But the violent deaths of prominent Palestinians in Europe doesn't go unnoticed. Anti-Israeli violence escalates, and the hunters become the hunted.
George Jonas hates "Munich", because he feels that Spielberg fails to distinguish between terrorism and counterterrorism. Palestinians may object to the implication that Mossad meted out justice to those who planned the Munich debacle, when actually the targets were prominent members of Black September who may or may not have had anything to do with Munich. The assassinations were intended to serve as a deterrent to future violence against Israelis. Steven Spielberg has said that his intention in "Munich" is to highlight the dilemmas and issues incumbent in fighting violence with violence, not to oppose that approach, but to caution that it is easy to get a bad result. He has invented conversations and radically altered personalities to that end which, unfortunately, leave Avner and his comrades without a shred of credibility. Avner is portrayed as a man nearly paralyzed by a crisis of conscience. His team members are contrived to represent different aspects of his conflicted psyche. But assassins do not have crises of conscience. They believe unfailing in what they do. The conversations that these men have reflect the internal dialogues of the filmmakers. But Mossad agents are not liberal Hollywood intellectuals. They don't think like that.
The characters aren't credible, and therefore the film isn't either. Avner's behavior doesn't even make sense within the context of the plot. He is the flakiest assassin ever. "Munich" is not so much morally ambiguous, even-handed, or provocative as it is simply muddy. It's so ineffective that Spielberg needed to explain his ideas in an introduction on the DVD. As to the film's relevance to anti-American terrorism today, it doesn't have any. Black September was a secular organization in a land dispute, much like the IRA, FLN, or Chechen separatists. Its leadership were educated, liberal, and pro-Western. Al-Qaeda are religious fanatics with no specific grievance and nothing to lose. Palestinians will think "Munich" gives the Israelis too much credit for scruples. Israelis will think that it posits a moral dilemma where none existed. The fact that "Munich" doesn't please either party doesn't make it a good film. Speilberg's ideas may be worth considering. But putting equivocation and moral anguish into the mouths of professional assassins is a lazy, unconvincing way to convey those ideas.
The DVD (Universal 2006 single disc): There is an optional introduction by director Steven Spielberg (4 1/2 min) in which he talks about developing the film from the book "Vengeance", what parts of the story are indisputable, and his intentions with the film. Subtitles are available in English, SDH, Spanish, and French. Dubbing is available in French. German and Arabic dialogue is subtitled by default, but the white subtitles are difficult to read. DVS (Descriptive Video Service) is available to describe the film's visual elements for the visually impaired."
Thought provoking film with an important message
Mike | West Babylon, NY | 04/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is required viewing for everyone who loudly calls for bombs dropped while listening to Toby Keith and quoting Sean Hannity.
"Munich" is somewhat slow to develop after the opening sequence showing the abduction of the Israeli athletes. I felt I was being indoctrinated with sympathy for the poor suffering Israelis, who everyone hates and can't catch a break. However, Spielberg gradually breaks away from that mode and slowly develops an engaging, suspenseful thriller.
Spielberg creates a very simple "good guy/bad guy" conflict as the mission to exterminate members of the Palestinian terrorist group responsible for the Munich Massacre. As the mission progresses, questions get asked and issues are debated. Eventually the audience is left to question their own beliefs about the nature of reaction and retribution.
The film ends with a brilliant speech that reflects the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, yet reflects other conflicts, as well as our current conflict with Iraq and the much larger "War on Terror". Spielberg leaves us with a very haunting image of the World Trade Center as the characters discuss the process of action and the inevitable vengeance that follows, questioning whether every action needs a reaction. I was reminded of the saying, "An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind."
This film is entertaining, suspenseful, thought-provoking, and above all else, important."